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United States v. Shearer

473 U.S. 52 (1985)

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United States v. Shearer

United States Supreme Court

473 U.S. 52 (1985)

Facts

While off duty and away from the base at which he was stationed, United States Army private Vernon Shearer was murdered by another soldier. Shearer’s mother (Shearer) (plaintiff) brought an action against the United States (defendant) under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that the army’s negligence caused her son’s death. Shearer claimed that although the army knew that the soldier who murdered her son had been convicted of manslaughter while assigned to an Army base in Germany, the army negligently failed to control the soldier, warn others that he was at large, and remove him from active military duty. The district court granted the government’s motion for summary judgment. The Third Circuit reversed, holding that an off-duty serviceman not on the military base or engaged in military activity at the time he is injured may recover under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

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